DBT for power subsidy will empower Andhra's farmers: Energy Minister Peddireddy
Says farmers need not pay a single paisa from their pocket for power consumed as govt will deposit the amount in their bank accounts
Published: 08th August 2022 08:12 AM | Last Updated: 08th August 2022 08:12 AM | A+A A-
VIJAYAWADA: Farmers will get the right to demand-supply of quality power from Discoms with the implementation of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for payment of power subsidy for agriculture connections, Energy Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy has said.
Holding a virtual meeting with the Energy Department officials on the DBT scheme and 9-hour daytime supply of power to the agriculture sector, he said, “Steps have been taken to safeguard the interests of farmers despite the State government’s decision to implement the DBT scheme as part of the power reforms initiated by the Centre. The scheme will help ensure supply of adequate reliable and quality power to the agriculture sector to make it sustainable, besides empowering farmers.”
Peddireddy made it clear that farmers need not pay even a single paisa from their pocket for the power consumed by them as the government will deposit the entire amount in the bank accounts of farmers, who in turn will pay it to Discoms. “It will enhance the accountability among the power utilities,” he asserted.
Underlining the need to fix electricity meters for agriculture connections, he said it will enable them to know the extent of free power consumed by them and how much is being spent for it. This will also prevent the power utilities from transferring their losses (accumulated due to various reasons) to the farmers’ subsidy account and ensure transparency with regard to power purchases, wastage and supply losses, he said.
The State government will not impose any restrictions on the total number of free agricultural power connections. All the existing agriculture connections will be continued. The government will also sanction new agriculture connections and regularise the unauthorised connections as well, he explained.
“The government will bear the entire expenditure of the free power scheme. The Discoms will not remove a single unauthorised connection. I request farmers not to believe the false propaganda on the fixation of meters and they do not need to have any apprehensions about the implementation of the free power scheme. The government is committed to continuing the free power scheme for the next 30 years for which it has entered into an agreement with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to purchase 7000 MW of power exclusively for the free power scheme, he added.
The energy officials informed him that a large number of farmers have come forward to sign the agreements for the installation of electricity meters to avail benefit of the free power scheme. The DBT scheme implemented on a pilot basis in Srikakulam district has yielded good results. A total of 101.51 MU of electricity was consumed by 26,083 farmers in Srikakulam in 2020-21. The number of connections increased to 28,393 in 2021-22. But the consumption had come down to 67.76 MU, they added.